City council will begin giving readings to the City Williams Lake Building Bylaw No. 2274 2019. Under the new bylaw a permit will be required to build a retaining wall exceeding 1.22 metres in height that holds or retains soil or other material behind it. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Williams Lake’s building bylaw being brought up to code

The new bylaw was presented to city council and will now go for three readings and presentation to the public

Williams Lake is in the process of updating its 16-year-old building bylaw

The City’s building inspector Gary Deane and director of municipal services Gary Muraca shared the proposed bylaw changes during the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday evening.

Proposed Williams Lake Buil… by on Scribd

Some of the changes in the bylaw include the requirement of an owner’s undertaking, builders paying a security deposit instead of a damage deposit, the need for registered professionals, engineers and architects to provide proof of liability insurance, expiry dates on building permits and approval from the public works manager before any construction is started within 10 meters of city services.

“If someone is out there digging a hole, the whole idea is we want to make sure public works knows about it and is approving it before they start,” Deane said.

Some clarity is also provided in the updated bylaw about building retaining walls to standards that are expected across Canada and most of the United States, he added.

Read more: Retaining wall collapse a ‘bit of a scare’ for owners

“As it pertains to the bylaw, a retaining wall is any structure which stands four feet or more that holds or retains soil or other material behind it. We are going to be the registry for the engineering of retaining walls for private owners.”

Additionally, any retaining wall between private property and City property or right of ways has to be engineered and permitted, he said.

“If you drive around the city you see all sorts of retaining walls leaning or have actually failed,” Deane said. “It’s a real issue and the number one failure we see is retaining walls that have let go.”

Since Dec. 8, 2018 a new building code was implemented in B.C.

“There are some fairly significant changes in that code as it relates to the way we construct buildings, primarily public buildings,” Deane said.

Before the bylaw receives final reading on March 12 there will be a public information session hosted by the City and the Cariboo Regional District to discuss the building code changes and the changes to the City of Williams Lake Building Bylaw at the same time.

Read more: Williams Lake building permits total $35 million for 2018

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Changes to the City of Williams Lake Building Bylaw are underway, including clarity on retaining walls and the requirements of builders. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

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